By Thea Potter
It might be contingency, it might be fate, but for whatever reason I find myself living on a small island at a significant remove from the advantages of university and town. Of course I still want to read and write and continue my research. I am not wealthy, nor am I able to travel often, not to mention the fact that I live in a non-English speaking country. The simple truth is that without open access scholarship my life as I live it would be impossible. For those of us in reduced circumstances it is out of the question to buy every book of potential interest and if there is no lending library there is no other way to access the eye-opening possibilities presented in other people’s research. We live in a world whose organisation is increasingly structured around private and corporate interests and we individual humans are more often than not treated as potential consumers to be controlled and manipulated rather than vibrant souls reaching toward enlightenment and wisdom. The limitations on knowledge, research and on information are the very real chains of the day, binding us up within a discourse of permitted freedoms and bought ideas. Today the mass manipulation of people’s conscious and unconscious thoughts is orchestrated to such a degree that many people do not even seek further information or further knowledge and are disturbingly willing not only to go along with but reinforce the narratives and misleadingly named ‘facts’ that so benefit the banking and corporate cartels that manage and guide state policy. However, all is not lost! For those who can extricate themselves it is still possible to discover a world beyond these feudal interests. There are academic journals, scientific, medical, philosophical journals that are still able to be accessed and read and understood by the lay population. There are books online, there are archives, and there are all those diy videos to help yourself be independent not only in thought but also in the practical organisation of life. Are you interested in self-subsistent farming, in alternative economies, in organic heirloom seed-banks, in expanding the boundaries of your thought and tending to your children without the harmful intervention of chemicals and pharmaceuticals? It’s all there, written by scientists from the upper echelons of the university or by independent researchers in books and blogs. No doubt this burgeoning font of information and knowledge is profoundly threatening to the interests of the powerful. We should keep this in mind and do anything we can to maintain free access for all to all. The mere fact that I (an otherwise reclusive writer) am writing in support of free access should make us aware that our freedom of expression is even now being restricted, is always subject to scrutiny, and now more than ever subject to censorship. We must hold on to the freedom of information and knowledge by hook and by crook, it is the sole resource we have at our disposal in our fight against the powers that seek to control every aspect of our world, our lives, our minds and bodies.
Thea Potter is the author of Horos: Ancient Boundaries and the Ecology of Stone an Open Access title that explores the complex relationship between classical philosophy and the ‘horos’, a stone that Athenians erected to mark the boundaries of their marketplace, their gravestones, their roads and their private property.
You can read and download this title for free on the link below.